There’s no two ways about it: elopements can be a political quagmire. Despite your best efforts to do what’s right for you as a couple, it’s inevitable that you’ll have some considerations and concerns about how to plan an experience that’s special and stress-free.
So if you’re thinking of eloping but have some reservations – we’re here to help. We’ve pulled together our top 10 elopement planning dos and don’ts to help you create the day of your dreams.
DO: Expect your loved ones not to get it
The sad reality is that some people won’t understand your decision to elope. No matter how much they might support you, for some, the idea of not bing there to share you wedding will be disappointing, and possibly even hurtful. This is something you cannot control – so you should be prepared for it to happen, and then let it go.
If you communicate your decision in a sensitive way to your friends and family, then it’s up to them how they respond. The most important thing is that you stay true to what you want to do, without feeling obliged to fulfil other people’s wishes about how they think your day should be.
DO: Involve your loved ones in the experience in some way
Just cause your loved ones won’t be there when you say ‘I do’ doesn’t mean they can’t be part of your elopement experience. There are plenty of ways that you can involve the people you love into the process – perhaps by asking someone to be your celebrant, or by holding a post-elopement party. Or it could even just be getting your loved ones to help you to organize the day. This approach can go a long way to making sure your friends and family come to terms with the idea of an elopement.
DON’T: Shock people with a social media announcement
Just don’t. You might not want to share your day with others, but that doesn’t mean you should be inconsiderate. Tell the people you care about in person before the day that you’re planning to elope so that they aren’t left feeling hurt or excluded.
Whatever your decision to elope, whether they are financial, philosophical or anywhere in between – is it just that: your decision. You don’t need to justify or apologise for it to anyone, even if they really don’t seem to be ok with the decision you’ve made. Ultimately, this day more than any other should be about honoring the couple you are. If that means that you want to take off to your favourite mountain and eat nachos as you say your vows, whilst having Johnny Cash songs play in the background – well, that’s awesome. You don’t need anyone’s validation that you’re doing the right thing – just stay true to you.
DON’T: Forget to check the legalities
Even if you have a specific destination in mind for your elopement, don’t forget that you can’t get legally married anywhere. Head to your local city hall (or check online if you’re eloping overseas) to find out exactly what you need to do to comply with the legalities. In the US that usually means you need an officiant and at least one witness, though this will be different in other countries.
DO: Invest in a wedding planner
Elopements are no less stressful to plan than a traditional wedding. It’s well worth hiring a wedding planner to be your partner in crime throughout the process. They will be able to help you navigate all the decisions (and vendors) that you’ll need to consider for your day
DON’T: Forget to hire a photographer
Hiring an epic photographer who totally gets your unique style and vibe is perhaps even more important for an elopement than a traditional wedding. You’ll be the only two people at this amazing day, and it’s therefore so important that you document the experience from start to end. This is not only super important for you as a couple, but it also gives you something to share with friends and family after the day itself.
DO: Treat yourself to the bridal aspects of a traditional wedding
Just because you’re having an elopement doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to the same level of pampering that brides have on traditional days. DO get your hair done, DO get a dress you feel incredible in, DO splash out on an amazing reception meal. Going small doesn’t mean you have to give up on the bits of a wedding that make you feel special.
DO: Budget wisely
Elopements can definitely be cheaper than a traditional wedding, but things can equally spiral out of control if you’re not ‘on it’. Set a clear budget ahead of time and stick to it. If you want to spend more on one element than you originally planned, then scale back elsewhere. Future you will be grateful you took the time to plan your budget wisely.
DO: Savor every moment
Elopements are such special and intimate occasions. It’s therefore so important that you take the time on the day to be mindful and present with one another, and to appreciate every moment as it happens. Check in with each other, talk through your feelings. At a traditional day you’d be doing that with other guests, so really make sure you take the time to be there for one another on your special day.
And above all, guys – ENJOY!